A Winter Farmers Market to Warm the Stomach and Soul

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One way or another we all have been affected by the polar vortex, a new weather phenomenon that has been coined by AccuWeather or as they prefer to say, "extreme arctic air coming south". Winter is a time where the earth breathes in, a moment for pause and most of all for me — reflection. I have been doing my fair share of reflecting and 2013 by far has been one of the most challenging, creative and enriching years of my life. The construction of Sheridan Green has been an amazing feat — as some of you know — and confidently I can say that this week a final inspection is scheduled; prayers are welcome for a certificate of occupancy. And in between managing and nurturing the building process I have met some of the most amazing edible artisans and craftsman of the East End and made new friends along the way. 

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We may not be in the height of a bustling harvest or running into one another at a local farm stand, but in the middle of winter there are plenty of artisanal edibles and chitchat to warm the stomach and soul, you just need to seek it out. A dash of craft and a dose of local nibbles were what I needed and what better way to combat the polar vortex than at a winter farmers market in Bridgehampton on the grounds of the Topping Rose House in the restored barn. This gathering was a celebration and thaw from the frigid grasp we have all been under for the past month. As attendees mingled with artists, artisans and local farmers inside, it seemed Heat Miser made a deal with Snow Miser for a bit of warmth and sunshine outside; It was a balmy 47 degrees and sunny.

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The turnout was so sensational that some vendors ran out of items. Holly Browder of Browder's Birds was selling pickled eggs, dry rubs, barbecue sauce, brine and of course fresh farm eggs; I snatched the last dozen — lucky me. Kate Pratt of East Hampton Gourmet had to call her partner Michel Mazuret to bring her more of their signature Lentil Rice Crispbreads as they were selling out. Mecox Bay Dairy was inundated with cheese lovers hovering over their table to nibble on their most celebrated varieties: Atlantic Mist, Sigit and Mecox Sunrise. I walked away with a pound of their grass-fed ground beef and a farmhouse cheddar. Deborah Lukasik of Southampton Soap Company was selling her sudsy craft left and right; thankfully I got to her table in time to hoard the evergreen soap that she featured in a 2013 holiday pack, truly invigorating. Long Island Mushroom was showing off their finest fungus and I took away a 1/2 pound of shiitakes. Chef de Cuisine Ty Kotz of Topping Rose thanked all 31 vendors personally for participating in their first ever farmers market — I thought this was a warm touch. I first met chef Kotz at the Great Chefs Dinner and I was blown away by his beet risotto that tasted equally as beautiful as it looked; fingers crossed that he puts it on the menu.

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Topping Rose plans to host another winter farmers market on Saturday, February 15, from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. If you cannot wait that long and tired of hibernating under Snow Misers ice plunge the Riverhead farmers market opening day is February 1, at 117 East Main Street, in the old Swezey's building and will be open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., from February 1 — May 17.

I had big plans for my edible purchase. A dish that would leave you feeling warm and comforted, just like I felt at the Topping Rose winter farmers market.

How does homemade egg noodles with grass-fed beef meatballs in a Parmesan shiitake broth sound? This dish is all about comfort and will take you out of your icy doldrums.

Egg noodles with grass-fed beef meatballs in a Parmesan shiitake broth

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ingredients

Egg Noodles

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup water

Meatballs in Parmesan Shiitake Broth

  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound of shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium - large Parmesan rind 
  • 1 lb ground grass fed beef
  • 1 cup of whole ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of fresh italian bread chopped (trim the crust)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of italian parsley, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • flour for dredging meatballs
  • 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil

directions

Egg Noodles

  1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in center and crack eggs into it.
  2. Take a spoon and mix together gently. Add water if dough is not forming a ball. Begin to use your hands when dough begins to come together. It should be slightly tacky.  
  3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes. You can refrigerate the dough up to a day. Be sure to have it rest on the counter for 30 minutes to bring to room temperature before rolling out.
  4. Lightly flour your working surface. This will keep the dough from sticking. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, working from the middle out.
  5. When the dough is about a 1/4 inch thick, cut the dough into strips with a pizza cutter. I found the pizza cutter to be the best but you can use a large knife. If you have a hand crank pasta machine or kitchen-aid attachment you can use that too. But this pasta is super easy to do by hand and is fun. Do not worry if your noodles are crooked, this is all about comfort. I cut them in long strips at a 1/2 inch wide.

    Note: When the meatballs in Parmesan shiitake broth is almost done, cook the noodles in boiling salted water until they float, about 3 minutes.

    Meatballs in Parmesan Shiitake Broth
     
  6. In a large pot add the chicken stock and Parmesan rinds.; cover and let simmer.

  7. In a large skillet over medium heat add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot add the Shiitake mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms are tender, about 3 minutes. Then add the shiitakes to the broth and continue simmering.

  8. In a large bowl, combine the beef, bread, garlic, ricotta, parmesan, salt, pepper, milk and parsley. Lightly mix everything together without overworking the meat, should be light and not compact.

  9. Once everything is combined, place a large piece of parchment or tinfoil on a baking sheet. Roll the meatballs into 1-inch round with your hands and then dredge in flour and place the meatballs on the baking sheet.  Repeat until all the meatballs are ready to be seared.

  10. In the same skillet you used for the shiitakes, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs, working in batches to not overcrowd the pan. Use tongs to turn the meatballs and cook until all sides are browned, approximately 5 minutes. You are simply doing a quick sear not cooking the meatball entirely. Place the meatballs in the broth as you go.

  11. Let the broth and meatballs simmer for 30 - 45 minutes.

    Assembly
     

  12. When done place a laddle of the broth on the bottom of the bowl, add he egg noodles and then a few meatballs with the broth and shiitakes. If you desire sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve with some crusty bread.

The Dynamic Food Duo Behind East Hampton Gourmet Food

Kate Pratt and Michel Mazuret, owners of East Hampton Gourmet Food.

I believe we are the culmination of our life experiences. This is especially true when you meet Kate Pratt and Michel Mazuret, the dynamic food duo behind the East Hampton Gourmet Food in East Hampton, New York. Together, for the past 17 years, they have been creating healthy gourmet eats for the wholesale, retail and entertaining markets of the East End and New York metro area.

I met with Kate and Michel on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and the drive to East Hampton was bumper-to-bumper traffic; something us “East Enders” are familiar with. This was a sure sign that winter was long gone and the summer crowds were eager to get their houses ready for Memorial Day weekend.

Kate Pratt and Michel Mazuret, owners of East Hampton Gourmet Food

I sat with Kate and Michel outside their store at 66 Newtown Lane, and they began reminiscing about their partnership and story. The weather was a perfect compliment to their sunny disposition and charming personalities; I could have chatted with them for hours. During my visit, they had an order for a well-known photographers birthday party of vegetarian delights: assorted grilled vegetables, lentil rice crispbread with mango chutney, white bean puree with grilled bread, vegan veggie burgers, tempeh blt’s, kale Caesar salad, quinoa salad and instead of a birthday cake a beautiful burrata cheese with basil and roasted red peppers.

Burrata cheese with basil and roasted red peppers

The majority of customers who stopped by the store were opening up their homes for the coming summer season; picking up their gourmet-to-go meals which are internationally inspired using locally grown, raised or caught when possible.

Their ethnic cuisine is no surprise as Kate’s father was a chef in the Army as a Mess Sergeant during World War II. Can you imagine trying to satisfy the palates of hungry soldiers, who wished they were home eating their Mom’s best recipes? Kate’s father did just that, he learned how to cook foods from an array of cultures and when he returned home from active duty he would make these recipes for Kate’s family. The one cuisine Kate’s father did not learn was Indian; that is where Kate’s maternal grandfather filled the void. He was in the British Royal Army, stationed in Bombay, India, where he became interested in Indian philosophy, culture and food. When Kate was thirteen her grandfather took her to the 1964 Worlds Fair in Queens, New York where she spent the entire time at the Indian Pavilion learning how to make Indian food.

Chickpea Cake

lentil rice Crispbreads

Coconut Bliss; vegan, raw, organic

I tasted a few items on the menu that took me around the world: turkey meatballs in marinara sauce, a chickpea cake with yogurt sauce, Kitchari (an Ayurvedic detoxifying soupy porridge made of mung bean, brown rice and active yeast), turkey chili, quinoa spice salad, lentil rice crispbreads (flavors: rosemary parmesan and everything. These are thin, beautifully tasting artisan crackers), ready-to-bake flourless peanut butter cookies, coconut bliss (a vegan, raw and organic version of an almond joy) and a gluten-free roulade meringue with unsweetened whipped cream and raspberries infused with rosewater. This sweet treat will be the all-star at our Sheridan Green open house party; you can bank on the fact that I would drive in Saturday summer traffic to get this light and luscious dessert.
 

Roulade meringue with unsweetened 

whipped cream and raspberries infused with rosewater

Roulade meringue with unsweetened whipped cream and raspberries infused with rosewater

Kate’s curiosity for culture and global flavors continued into her adult life. She lived in Indian for a few years and immersed herself in the culture. On her return from India she managed the famed Mangia, one of Manhattan’s premier gourmet take-out and catering establishments and a few years later moved to Key West Florida to manage, Ocean Key Resort and Spa.

It was in Key West Florida where she met Michel Mazuret, who happened to be her neighbor. Michel worked at the acclaimed Café Des Artistes as a chef and was classically trained in the region of Brittany, France.

When Kate and Michel met they instantly knew they would be collaborating in some type of business together and so they packed their bags and headed to Kate’s refuge in the Hamptons.

The coming together of Kate and Michel was sheer serendipity. In 1996 they launched East Hampton Gourmet Food, as an artisanal wholesale bakery supplying esoteric, savory/sweet vegan pies to Hay Day Markets, Dean and Deluca, Balducci's, and several gourmet stores. In 2006, they expanded their culinary offerings alongside the wholesale operation of gourmet prepared meals for the public.

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These days, this health conscious foodie team is cooking up ready-to-eat, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free meals alongside free-range poultry and local fish dishes. During the winter months, Michel travels to Hawaii, Japan and France to expand on his culinary repertoire which influences the seasonal dishes at East Hampton Gourmet Food. Not only does Michel create the diverse dishes offered but also the talented team of cooks: Maggie, Tikka and Beatrice who have extensive knowledge in Indian, Thai and Lebanese cooking, add their own twist.

East Hampton Gourmet Food caters for events and parties. The refrigerated case displays are filled with a variety of gourmet prepared meals; vegan, vegetarian, and some poultry. The vegetarian frozen hors d’oeuvres would satisfy any carnivore; offering dumplings, quiches, samosas and fritters. Most dishes in the store are gluten-free and they even offer frozen flourless peanut butter and chocolate chunk cookies that are ready to be baked. 

To top it off, Kate who has a degree in biochemistry, developed a skin care line, Hampton Botanicals. “70 percent of what you put onto your body goes into your body,” says Kate. The products are made with essential oils, are plant-derived, as organic as possible and will be offered at White's Pharmacy in East Hampton.

Hampton Botanicals Skin Care

East Hampton Gourmet Food is presently looking for an additional location to expand their business. This new location may focus on their wholesale products, gourmet-to-go refrigerated foods, or their skin care line, Hampton Botanicals. 

Eat well and healthy is Kate and Michel's mantra. Be sure to stop by their shop as there is something for everyone to enjoy. I look forward to their upcoming journey as I think it is going to be a happy and healthful ride.

Counter People Needed: Who are foodies at heart and interested in healthy foods. 
Please inquire: phone: 631.329.3993 email: info@easthamptongourmetfood.com 
website: www.easthamptongourmetfood.com 
address: 66 Newtown Lane (rear building) East Hampton, New York.